The Digital Divide – implications for equity in higher education in South Africa


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We welcomed Dr Jeanette Botha (University of South Africa) to the Centre to conduct a presentation and a discussion on issues around the ‘digital divide’ within South Africa (something likely to be an issue in other countries around the world). The main thrust of the talk was: “Who are we teaching?” Dr Botha alluded to the issue of technology driving education vs education driving technology and highlighted numerous concerns of developing world ODL practitioners and students, contextualizing ODEL in South Africa in the current socio-economic framework, with reference to Unisa. The argument was made for the pragmatic consideration of the acquisition and use of appropriate technologies in line with these “real world” considerations.

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  • This in a nutshell, encapsulates the challenge that we face in trying to provide quality higher education to an increasingly disparate student body. I often feel that we are so seduced by the potential of ICTs to resolve the many challenges that we face in ODeL delivery that we are willingly blind to the practical realities that need to be over come in their implementation, and that this has resulted in the frustrating lack of progress that is still so evident in our success and throughput rates.
  • I would like us to turn briefly to some of the challenges that I have just alluded to. We all know them, but I think they will contextualise this discussion and so they are worth mentioning. As regards globalisation, I don’t want to get into the whole issue of hegemonies, because it is not pertinent to my presentation today, but suffice it to say it remains a burning issue as a perceived barrier to indigenous knowledge production and the development of a genuinely African canon. I have mentioned Scott here because in this article, he makes mention of an “anti globalisation” sentiment which I believe, touches on a growing sense of disenchantment amongst higher education practitioners at the role in which higher education is currently being cast. Of more recent relevance when it comes to internationalisation, is the deliberate targeting of foreign and top students by North America and Western Europe, in order to boost income and have the competitive edge. Once again, these policy decisions have serious implications for developing nations and could serve to further entrench the digital - and I thought I would also mention these briefly because they are globally (and nationally) relevant in terms of available teaching capacity. The profession seems to be shrinking while the demand is growing. Ant yet, it seems that increasingly our faculty are expected to be everything to everybody. This is one of the greatest challenges that higher education is facing and I would like to believe that is may be a key driver of the push for e-learning, which in theory at least, offers possibly the only solution to this dilemma. Of course this is compounded by the disparate student profile which I will refer to shortly.
  • I’m sure that you are all au fait with these data, but they do serve to emphasise the enormous challenges faced by higher education globally, more so in the developing world. The global recession that began in 2008 continues to impact very severely on higher education in ways which we never anticipated. The question is, who is in control and whose agenda is being served? What are we going to do if these numbers continue to increase? Do we believe that ODeL will be the “saviour of the higher education universe?’”
  • The reason why I have included this slide is because when we look at achievements by developing nations for example, in terms of the MDGs and Education For All, we often include China, and the significant impact that China makes on the stats tends to obscure the reality of the performance of other developing nations. When we disaggregate those data then the reality of performance is clarified and is often less rosy than what we initially anticipated.
  • From my own cursory analysis, these data indicate that the ‘balance of power’ if you like, in terms of tertiary student enrolment has moved decisively from the combined ‘north’ (or the developed nations), which previously enrolled two out of every four students (now one out of every four), to the developing nations which now collectively enroll 3 out of every four students, representing an approximate 25%: 75% ratio. This provides clear evidence of the impact of increased access to higher education, and portends difficult challenges around quality higher education provision in a harsh socio-economic environment. Interestingly, one must begin to speculate what this means for the North, as the “owners” of ICTs. And perhaps the questions that I would have for you here today, are : How do you feel about this changed ratio? Will you go to where these students are? Do you feel that you have an obligation to do that? Or will you expect these students to come to you? I think that recent policy decisions, for example Canada, China, USA and the UK suggest that students will be expected to go to you. Of course, the next question that arises, is: Will that that increase or diminish the digital divide and the yawning gap between the “haves” and the “have nots”? And what does that say about social justice? As ODL practitioners, where do we stand? Do we believe that we have the solution?
  • Most ICTs have been designed from a world view that is often alien to the lived experience of many people in the developing world, and oblivious of the more nuanced challenges that need to be overcome in their application and use “on the ground.” Most require access to the world-wide-web, which, while it is certainly improving in Africa, can by no stretch of the imagination be deemed satisfactory. Where access is available, there are often real challenges such as computer ownership and literacy, and the cost of uploading and downloading, all of which compromise effective and efficient ODEL delivery.
  • Of course we have statistics that indicate age, gender, race, course enrolments, and so on, but to date there appears to be scant empirical research, especially in the developing world, on levels of computer and mobile phone literacy amongst ODEL students, actual ownership of computers and mobile phones (and if so, what models these are), affordable, regular and reliable access to the internet, and living conditions that might impede ODEL delivery. We cannot provide that support if we don’t know what their needs are. Making assumptions based on partial data could be costly over the longer term. One cannot for example, gauge student ownership of computers or access to the internet using hits on the student portal or the number of online registrations when there is no way of determining whose computers were being used during that access. Did they perhaps register at the university, at work, at a library, at an internet café? One could of course assume that post grad students would have acquired some stable means of access and competency, but when it comes to the large numbers of undergrads, and especially new registrations, existing data on these vital considerations, are unreliable, nonexistent or in the process of being gathered, which poses a significant challenge for effective, quality delivery So actually, in terms of the socio-economic indicators I mentioned above – we just don’t know yet.
  • Many nations in the developing world are grappling with students who are completely underprepared for the rigours of higher education. This is particularly true where feeder systems are failing and where socio-economic conditions are declining rather than improving. Instead of getting a better calibre of student, it is likely that we will get a worse calibre, until the measures currently being implemented begin to come to fruition. The knock-on effect in terms of appropriate ICT acquisition, access and literacy are self-evident. At a university such as Unisa, which now has close on 350 000 headcounts and counting (374 000 if we include occasional students) these realities and challenges are magnified proportionately as we grapple with designing a “best-fit” architecture for the institution that will offer our disparate students an equal opportunity to develop as they learn, and to succeed. Rather than attempting to leap the digital divide in a single bound, I would like to suggest that a simpler, planned, incremental approach will achieve more solid gains over the longer-term. Comparatively speaking, our government is very generous with out education budget, but currently it could be well argued that our results don’t justify that spending. If one looks at this holistically, then we know that there is an extremely complex nexus of socio-economic and political factors that inform the status quo. But while they undoubtedly paint a grim picture, as educators they serve to reinforce our understanding that education is a core driver of socio economic development through the provision of appropriately skilled human resource capacity on the one hand, and through focussed research and other educational initiatives that will make a genuine, measurable contribution to, and impact on people’s lives and their wellbeing, on the other.
  • Thus far it seems that internet uptake has been by so-called “privileged” South Africans and that this market is now saturated - as seen by a flattening out of growth rates since 2009.
  • We are negotiating targets with the Ministry that we have already exceeded.
  • It is a fact for example, and this has been the experience at my own institution, that in their desperation to improve their life circumstances, students, especially those in the rural areas, will lie about their access to computers and their computer literacy in order to be able to register for a particular course. When the time comes to complete an assignment online they arrive at our centres asking for help. They don’t have any computers, any access to computers or the Internet and they are not computer literate. That is our reality, and although they may be the exception to the rule at Unisa, I would like to suggest that this phenomenon is more common than what we would like to believe.
  • Hendrikz discusses the University of Pretoria’s experience and approach to accommodating South Africa’s challenges in their unit for distance education. Their students are all teachers with a minimum three-year qualification. Almost 80% are women and more than 85% are older than 35. Just over 50% of the student population is graduate students. The majority, by far, lives and teaches in rural communities throughout South Africa (Hendrikz, 2011).   Their delivery remains predominantly paper-based, with structured opportunities for face-to-face sessions and other student support services. Enrolled students’ profiles are analysed to direct the introduction of appropriate ICT to support and enhance learning. The technology profile of the distance education students in 2002 and 2003 showed that almost all students had access to, or owned a mobile phone. (The model of the phone is not known.) Very few students indicated that they had an e-mail address. Fewer than 5% of the students indicated that they had access to a computer at home or at work. Only 1% indicated that they had access to the Internet (Hendrikz 2011). These statistics were used in deciding whether or not to introduce the web based/online delivery mode for distance students and to explore ways of using mobile phones in its distance programmes. A decision was taken to load all the programme material, with the exception of the textbooks, on the University’s LMS (ClickUP), a non- interactive site aimed at enabling distance students to access their learning material, tutorial letters and administrative information. Despite providing information about the site and how to access it to all new and existing students, almost no students have ever accessed the site over the years (Hendrikz 2011).   For the period 2004 to 2006, the mobile phone profile stayed the same and the number of students who had an e-mail address remained very low. This was also true for Internet access. From 2007 to 2009, the percentage of students with both e-mail addresses and Internet access grew. Internet access rose annually from 2% in 2007 to 7% in 2009, while growth in e-mail use grew from 20% in 2007 to 35% in 2008. However, it declined again in 2009 to less than 20%. There has however been noticeable growth in ownership or availability of computers for this cohort of distance education students from 2002 to 2010 (Hendrikz 2011).   This profile underscores the realities that I have sketched above. There are those communities, especially in urban areas that have comprehensive and adequate ICT connectivity, while the majority of the population living in rural areas have limited or no ICT connectivity.   Over the years, the University has carefully monitored the technology profile of its students and introduced – in a carefully planned manner – technologies that are accessible, dependable, and affordable to students, including SMSs and CDs. However, because not all students have access to a computer, the information on the CDs is not compulsory content, but information that will enrich their studies, for example, an e-library with recommended readings. The greater access to computers has resulted in more students submitting assignments online and it is anticipated that over time, the delivery will evolve in line with the profile and available technologies. However, it is not envisaged that this will happen in the near future. It was also clear from the start of the study that SMSs could not be used for in-depth academic conversations or to convey complex academic content, but revolved more around students’ perceptions and how they react when they receive an SMS from the University. The study concluded that the Internet and mobile phone penetration rate, as well as South Africa’s ICT Development Index (IDI), is reflected in the ICT profile of the University of Pretoria as a micro reflection of the reality of South Africa (Hendrikz, 2011).
  • I concur.
  • Second bullet: Excluding such devices as the Blackberry, Android and I-Phone which few of the poor can afford, she speaks of simple feature phones that have been customised by mobile phone makers for Africa. These phones mostly have basic browser capabilities and 2.25 inch screens. The users comprised eight women in an NGO collective, and the challenge was to train them how to access the internet on mobile phones they already owned.
  • Three years later, Gitau now works in Kenya, with different users. But she faces exactly the same problems. She asserts unless these challenges are addressed, the poor will remain technically marginalised. There is very little reason to believe that The situation would be much different in South Africa. And while these women were not students, their experiences indicate quite clearly the challenges that ODL students would have to face if we were to use mobile phones in the way that far too many have suggested. We simply don’t know that ICT capacity and competency of our students.
  • I hope that I have just provided an insight into the real world of ODL delivery in the developing world, and more particularly at Unisa. It tells a very complex and challenging story, and if one adds to that the political dynamics that are so close to our higher education home, then things become even more complex. ( I am sure that you all know that our current Minister of Higher Education and Training is simultaneously the Secretary General of the South African Communist Party). 1. Can we leap the digital divide? Well, we can certainly try. And there can be no doubt that we must move towards total inline provision. But how we do that is moot. I fear that is we go blindly down that road, then the divide will become a chasm into which the digitally challenged will fall, perhaps lost forever. And the implications for equity in higher education? I’m afraid that I have to say that if the current demand continues, equity will not be achieved in my life time, neither in South Africa nor in the world. On the contrary, I believe that the digital divide will increase as all nations struggle to ameliorate the effects of the recession, and come to grips with a world in transition. Determine the profile We might need to look at differentiated education Let the technologically proficient fly Start at ground zero for the rest and nurture them incrementally, to a point of transition to e-learning.
  • The Digital Divide – implications for equity in higher education in South Africa

    2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>The World Development Report (World Bank 1998/1999) asserts: </li></ul><ul><li> …… .the reality of the Digital Divide—the gap between those who have access to and control of technology and those who do not—means that the introduction and integration of ICTs at different levels and in various types of education will be a most challenging undertaking. Failure to meet the challenge would mean a further widening of the knowledge gap and the deepening of existing economic and social inequalities </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>2
    3. 3. Challenges: Globalisation, Internationalisation and Managerialism <ul><li>Globalisation - </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Education is driven and informed by a neoliberal agenda dictated by the so-called West </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Various forms of hegemony : Evans (1995: 16/2) observes “Globalization presents nations with a dilemma: they access the world, but the world invades them.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Peter Scott (2005) An overview of concepts trends and challenges - 4 phases of globalisation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Internationalisation . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The commodification of knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>GATS – but uptake not significant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student mobility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The “brain drain” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Managerialism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The role of faculty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The changing student profile </li></ul></ul>3
    4. 4. Challenges : Massification (1) <ul><li>In 2004, 132 million students worldwide, and in 2007, 153 million worldwide - a 53% increase since 2000 and a fivefold increase in less than 40 years. The global demand for higher education is predicted to expand to over 262 million students by 2025 (UNESCO, 2009:10 a). </li></ul><ul><li>Of that number approximately 75% is likely to be from developing nations , this despite the fact that participation in tertiary level education in low income countries has improved only marginally from 5% in 2000 to 7% in 2007 (UNESCO, 2009: iv a). Ironically, these are the countries who need it most. </li></ul><ul><li>A participation rate of 40 – 50% for young people in higher education is considered by the OECD to be vital for economic growth, but the 2009 World Conference on Higher Education: Reacting to New Dynamics (UNESCO, 2009:1b) states, but : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Regional participation is 71% in North America and Western Europe, 26% in the East Asia/Pacific region, 23% in the Arab States, 11% in South and West Asia and, despite rapid growth, only 6% in Africa. “ </li></ul></ul>4
    5. 5. Challenges : Massification (2) <ul><li>Student enrolments in East Asia and the Pacific have risen twelve-fold, from 3.9 million in 1970 to 46.7 million in 2007, and since 2000, the number has grown by an average of 10% each year. After the year 2000, the region became the global leader in terms of student numbers, surpassing North America and Western Europe. This is primarily due to China, where the student body has grown on average by almost 19% each year since 2000. There can be no doubt about the impact that China is making on higher education. What took 37 years to achieve in sub-Saharan Africa in terms of student numbers, occurred in recent years on average every two years in China, or five years in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNESCO 2009: 10). </li></ul>5
    6. 6. Challenges : Massification (3) <ul><li>A decided shift in the distribution of the world’s tertiary education students . In 1970 almost every second tertiary student in the world studied in North America or Western Europe, but recent figures indicate that it is now just one out of four students. This means that their regional share of global enrolment is now one-half of what it used to be, falling from 48% to 23% between 1970 and 2007. On the other hand, East Asia and the Pacific’s share of global tertiary education students now exceeds 30% of global enrolment (which is up from 14% in 1970) and the share of enrolment in Latin America and the Caribbean doubled from 6% to 12% between 1970 and 2007. Although the growth was low in comparison, the share in South and West Asia increased from 10% to 12% in the same period (UNESCO 2009: 13). </li></ul>6
    7. 7. <ul><li>South Africa has to deal with all of these challenges and others of a more specific nature. Unisa, which is the largest ODL provider on the Continent and enrolls more than one-third of all students in South Africa, is at the coalface of delivering quality higher education to those who need it most. ICTs are seen to be a very viable, and possibly, the only solution to meeting the ongoing demand for higher education, so we have to ask ourselves some tough questions….. </li></ul>7
    8. 8. Does technology drive education or does education drive technology? <ul><li>One sometimes gets the sense that ODEL is being employed in the service of technology, and not the other way round. Tinio (2011:26) asserts: </li></ul><ul><li>Technology then should not drive education; rather, educational goals and needs, and careful economics, must drive technology use. Only in this way can educational institutions in developing countries effectively and equitably address the key needs of the population, to help the population as a whole respond to new challenges and opportunities created by an increasingly global economy. ICTs, therefore, cannot by themselves resolve educational problems in the developing world, as such problems are rooted in well entrenched issues of poverty, social inequality, and uneven development. What ICTs as educational tools can do, if they are used prudently, is enable developing countries to expand access to and raise the quality of education. Prudence requires careful consideration of the interacting issues that underpin ICT use in the school—policy and politics, infrastructure development, human capacity, language and content, culture, equity, cost, and not least, curriculum and pedagogy. </li></ul>8
    9. 9. So who are we teaching? <ul><li>We have demographical data for our students, but is that enough? </li></ul><ul><li>Assumptions are made about our students’ preparedness for ODEL based on data that is derived from various sources, each of which is generally aimed at a specific aspect of ODL delivery or specific cohorts of students </li></ul><ul><li>We need to look at more innovative and creative instruments to acquire that data, bearing in mind that they will need to include students who do not have access to computers and the internet and who are not computer literate. </li></ul><ul><li>Bear in mind, that it is unlikely that Unisa will at this stage, be able to exclude students who do not have their own computers or reliable access to the internet. In Africa we are certainly not alone in that regard. </li></ul>9
    10. 10. Challenges: The socio-economic and political environment <ul><li>Our Gini Co-efficient is at 0.54, the estimate from our BMR puts it at 0.72 – the highest in the world. </li></ul><ul><li>South Africa now exhibits the highest disparity in the world, between the “haves” and the “have-nots” </li></ul><ul><li>50% of the population lives below the breadline as compared to 36% in Tanzania and 25% in India </li></ul><ul><li>72% of the economically active youth are unemployed </li></ul><ul><li>Nearly 100 000 children are living in child-headed households and by 2015, 32% of all children in South Africa would have lost one or both parents to HIV and Aids. </li></ul><ul><li>Between 2002 and 2007, the number of children who had lost both their parents doubled from 352 000 to 701 000 </li></ul><ul><li>Worrying results of the Annual National Assessment Tests (percentages – African comparisons) </li></ul>10
    11. 11. ANA results…… … <ul><li>The Annual National Assessments tests that were conducted by the Department of Basic Education, on more than 6 million school children in South Africa. </li></ul><ul><li>The national average performance in literacy for Grade 3’s was 35%, and more staggering, the provincial differences in performance ranged from 19% in Mpumalanga and 43% in the Western Cape. </li></ul><ul><li>In Grade 6 the national average performance in languages (note, not an individual language – all languages) is 28%. </li></ul><ul><li>In Grade 3, 47% of learners achieved above 35% in Literacy and 34% of learners achieved above 35% in Numeracy. </li></ul><ul><li>In the case of Grade 6, 30% of learners achieved above 35% in Languages, and 31% of learners achieved above 35% in Mathematics. </li></ul><ul><li>These students will be coming into our higher education system in the future, and while they don’t comprise the bulk of Unisa students they are a growing cohort. They will need nurturing and support if they are to succeed. How will we provide it? </li></ul><ul><li>Learner support is critical </li></ul>11
    12. 12. South Africa’s ICT status <ul><li>Approx 12 % of SA household have computers. (Gillwald:2004) </li></ul><ul><li>Overall access to the internet has risen from 7.2% in 2007 to 11.1% </li></ul><ul><li>in 2009. Access is concentrated in the Western Cape (23.4%) and Gauteng (20.%). Rural areas are poorly represented. </li></ul><ul><li>A number of new cables have come onshore and there is now increased capacity – in fact in the near future there will probably be a glut of capacity. This has seen prices drop significantly . But South Africa’s internet costs remain some of the highest in the world and out of the reach of the majority. </li></ul><ul><li>South Africa’s download speed is one of the slowest in the world (about 1 mbps as opposed to the average 10mbps – SA ranks 98 th in the world.) </li></ul><ul><li>Broadband uploads lags further behind. At 0.4 mbps it ranks 109 th in the world, behind countries like Uganda, Kenya and the Gambia. </li></ul><ul><li>Even with a glut of capacity and cheap rates, where there is no blanket digital “footprint” access will remain limited to mainly urban areas. Our infrastructure is limited. We have no way of knowing how long it will take to provide connectivity to those areas. </li></ul><ul><li>While universities in South Africa have the capacity to disseminate data, the challenge lies with our students being able to upload and download assignments and study materials. </li></ul>12
    13. 13. Challenges : Unisa’s Enrolment Planning <ul><li>Most recent registrations closed at approx 350 000 (374 000 if we include occasional students) - an increase of 13,1% over 2010 - the M inisterial target is 313 000 for 2015. </li></ul><ul><li>An ongoing lag between policy formulation and the realities on the ground, means that we are expected to accept and fund students in excess of the funded target, but there may be some funding for Unfunded students, where available </li></ul><ul><li>It is unlikely that any hard-line policy stance on the issue will change the status quo. </li></ul><ul><li>How do we intend dealing with issues of basic, vocational and FET education – and the looming question of the “adult matric.” </li></ul>13
    14. 14. <ul><li>While many students do have the necessary access, are highly computer literate and require little or no learner support, it would be ill advised to believe that if we deliberately limit or eliminate traditional delivery and support options, we will induce technical literacy and proficiency amongst those who lag behind, and in so doing, bridge or leap the digital divide. The digital divide remains a harsh reality, not only between the developed and the developing nations, but also between the “haves” and the “have-nots” in our student bodies. In that view, making assumptions about our students and imposing solutions that fulfill our criteria, from positions of relative comfort and privilege and in the absence of critical data, could be construed as yet another form of elitism. </li></ul>Are we inadvertently increasing the digital divide in our own institutions? 14
    15. 15. ODEL in the “real world:” pragmatic consideration and approaches <ul><li>How Student Technology Profiles Affect Open and Distance Learning </li></ul><ul><li>in South Africa, Hendrikz (2011). </li></ul><ul><li>The technology profile of the distance education students in 2002 and 2003 showed that almost all students had access to, or owned a mobile phone. (The model of the phone is not known.) Very few students indicated that they had an e-mail address. Fewer than 5% of the students indicated that they had access to a computer at home or at work. Only 1% indicated that they had access to the Internet (Hendrikz 2011). </li></ul><ul><li>For the period 2004 to 2006, the mobile phone profile stayed the same and the number of students who had an e-mail address remained very low. This was also true for Internet access. </li></ul><ul><li>From 2007 to 2009, the percentage of students with both e-mail addresses and Internet access grew. Internet access rose annually from 2% in 2007 to 7% in 2009, while growth in e-mail use grew from 20% in 2007 to 35% in 2008. However, it declined again in 2009 to less than 20%. There has however been noticeable growth in ownership or availability of computers for this cohort of distance education students from 2002 to 2010 (Hendrikz 2011). </li></ul>15
    16. 16. The study concludes…. <ul><li>The Internet and mobile phone penetration rate, as well as South Africa’s ICT Development Index (IDI), is reflected in the ICT profile of the University of Pretoria as a micro reflection of the reality of South Africa (Hendrikz, 2011)…. One could argue that, if the most advanced sub-Saharan country in Africa reflects this reality in its student population, this student population should be very similar to that of other African countries. We are challenged by the ICT realities in Africa to carefully plan and contextualise our e-learning strategies before introducing them. In education, it should not be about technology, but rather about how we can expand access to study and how we can improve support to our students in a way that will at least give them a fair opportunity at success (Hendrikz, 2011). </li></ul>16
    17. 17. And about those mobile phones… <ul><li>A second, much smaller, but equally important study was conducted in 2009 by Gitau (2011) in the township of Kayelitsha, Cape Town South Africa. Entitled: What stops women accessing the mobile internet? </li></ul><ul><li>Gitau juxtaposes the rhetoric of the mobile phone as the “messiah of ODEL, driven to a crescendo by the arrival of interrestrial internet cables on our shores” (Gitau 2011) with the practical reality of its use in an urban township setting. </li></ul><ul><li>Gitau found that 6 months after the training they continued to use the mobile internet for a combination of utility, entertainment and connection, but that they encountered barriers including affordability and difficulty of use. Bearing in mind that such users are to be the prime potential beneficiaries of mobile internet, the challenges the identified include: </li></ul><ul><li>GPRS settings: There was no plug and play. Users had to master complex multistep menus, visit the mobile phone shop or get a knowledgeable friend to set up the phone. The different phone providers also each had their own unique instructions and settings, including download requirements, which are for the cost of the user. </li></ul>17
    18. 18. And about those mobile phones (2)… <ul><li>Security Settings: Users assumed that once they were online they would be able to navigate and browse any site. But the service providers had set up gateways that routed all browsing through their landing pages which contained end user agreements, licenses, and agreements. This causes many users to give up </li></ul><ul><li>WAP/Menu/Hard Key confusion : Every phone had a different button and/or menu to get into the WAP/Internet application. Even different handsets serviced by the same provider were not consistent. Access skills had to be re-taught for each new phone. </li></ul><ul><li>Webmail chicken and egg : E-mail Identifiers unlock the internet. For virtually every service such as Facebook, job services and so on, one needs an e-mail address. At the time of the study, none of the major webmail providers allowed for mobile-based account creation, which meant that an e-mail address had to be created on a PC on behalf of the user to enable to access the net on their mobile phones. </li></ul><ul><li>Unfamiliarity with passwords : There was some confusion on the part of the users, between a pin number and a password. A pin needed four or five digits, but a password needed a combination of characters with a minimum of eight. </li></ul><ul><li>No mobile friendly websites: There was nothing to get people to go online and stay online. At the time there were no mobile-friendly websites within the community. </li></ul><ul><li>Limited functionality: The most obvious challenge was the low memory and processing times of the phones, which were in no way comparable to a computer (Gitau 2011). </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>18
    19. 19. Conclusion <ul><li>What is our “real” world? </li></ul><ul><li>Can we “leap” the digital divide ? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the implications for equity? </li></ul><ul><li>So what remains? </li></ul><ul><li>Quality ODEL provision in our rapidly transforming global and national environment requires a multi-focal understanding and approach that may demand far greater levels of pragmatism, collaboration and partnership (especially at regional levels) on the part of higher education practitioners than has hitherto been the case. </li></ul>19
    20. 20. <ul><li>THANK YOU AND QUESTIONS </li></ul>20